October 3, 2022
Individuals make wills to ensure the correct distribution of their assets to their loved ones after they die, but there are specific things to avoid including in a Last Will and Testament (will). For instance, certain property types transfer automatically to an individual’s beneficiaries outside of their will. Due to this, it is advisable to leave these items off the will to avoid confusion, delays, and conflict. Find out what not to include in your will below and see how the experienced estate planning attorneys at The Mindful Counsel can assist individuals with their estate planning needs by calling (480) 422-6246.
According to the American Bar Association, a will outlines how an individual wants to distribute their assets after they die. Generally, people may choose to distribute their property in any way. In an effective will, individuals can expect to find the following information:
Generally, it is advisable to avoid including anything in a will that is subject to legislation regarding the asset’s distribution after the grantor dies. Some examples of these things include:
It is also a good idea to consider what to include, alongside what not to include, in your will. Typically, it is advisable to include anything not listed above in a will. This means anything that does not automatically transfer to a named beneficiary. To ensure the will includes everything, it is beneficial for an individual to think about all their possessions and the people they want to receive them. With this information, the individual can create an effective will by sharing these details with the compassionate and understanding attorneys at The Mindful Counsel who can help make sure the intended beneficiaries receive the correct assets.
Below are some other items that an individual may want to carefully consider before including them in their will.
Some individuals may decide to leave gifts in their wills that involve specific conditions. For instance, a person may want to gift their child some money if they improve their health, such as by quitting smoking and drinking. These conditions can involve certain challenges. In the above example, it might be necessary to appoint someone to supervise the beneficiary to see if they have fulfilled the condition. Additionally, it is necessary for the grantor to consider who may manage the funds in the meantime. Due to the complications involved, leaving out conditional gifts from a will is advisable.
When individuals include items in their will, it is necessary for these to go through the probate process. Often, this process is time-consuming and expensive and may leave beneficiaries with less than the asset’s value. Due to this reason, many individuals try to avoid the probate process, particularly when it concerns their most valuable assets. For instance, while an individual can leave their home to a beneficiary in their will, this may cost a lot of money. Additionally, there might be significant delays until the beneficiary receives the house’s legal title.
As a result, it can be better to use alternative tools for valuable assets to avoid the probate process, such as living trusts. A living, or revocable, trust is when the grantor can change the trust in whichever way they see fit, as opposed to an irrevocable trust.
Sometimes, an individual may want one of their beneficiaries who struggles to manage money well to have some of their money when they die. In this scenario, it is better to avoid leaving this money via a will and use a trust instead. For instance, spendthrift trusts help prevent the beneficiary from spending all the money in a short period. Additionally, a grantor may establish a special needs trust to help distribute their assets to a beneficiary with a disability, while also still allowing them to obtain state benefits.
For individuals that want to leave property or money to a child, including this in a will is advisable. To do this, it is necessary for the grantor to make arrangements for another person to manage the money or property until the beneficiary is old enough to manage it themselves.
Learning what to include and what not to include in your will is often challenging. Individuals want to ensure their wills are legally sound and error-free. To do this, contacting an estate planning attorney is advisable, as they can ensure the will contains the correct information. Moreover, an estate planning lawyer may offer helpful advice that is specific to an individual’s situation. Find out how The Mindful Counsel can help individuals create an effective will and assist with other estate planning queries by contacting them at (480) 422-6246.
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